Monday, November 17, 2008


"He who travels far will often see things
Far removed from what he believed was Truth.
When he talks about it in the fields at home,
He is often accused of lying,
For the obdurate people will not believe
What they do not see and distinctly feel.
Inexperience, I believe,
Will give little credence to my song."
-Herman Hesse, Journey to the East

Dear Diary,

The next time somebody asks me if I play a musical instrument, I refuse to forlornly shake my head and say, "I wish." Instead, I'll say that I play the electric typewriter - and then sit back and smile at the confused expression that my response elicited. With my electric typewriter, I am able to create my own music: verbal symphonies of an exotic land called Mexico.

Yet sometimes, Diary, I get extremely frustrated when the words and poetic descriptions become constipated in my mind. I know the talent exists inside of me to create wonderful works of literature, but getting it to come out is the big problem. It's like that small dab of elusive peanut butter at the bottom of the jar. Unquestionably, the peanut butter is there, enough to make a super sandwich. But do you ever notice how damn hard it is to scrape it out to make that sandwich? Alas, me and my peanut butter words.

I know what it feels like to be an exploding human volcano. My lava will engulf you.

The first questions that most people ask me about my travels are really silly questions. "Where do you eat?" "Where do you sleep?" "How do you wash your clothes?" I despise answering them. About the only valid response I can offer is something to the effect of "I make do." They shake their heads sympathetically. What these people do not understand is that not knowing where or what or how or why is the most essential part of the gratifying spiritual quest that traveling the Marriott circuit blanks out.

So, Diary, my garbled words comprise the fragmented prelude to an earlier story about magical shenanigans at Chichen Itza. Sorry for being so negligent of chronological details; this story should have preceded my last one entitled, "Weird Business at Chichen Itza." Somewhere in the introduction I mentioned that I had just come down out of the primeval Oaxacan highlands, after munching magic mushrooms witha local Indian who caused Javier, Hugo, Herman and myself to reshuffle our everyday view of reality. Him and the surroundings.

Here is where you enter the picture, Diary. Through you I am now prepared to relate the events of my ninety day visit into Mexican territory which culminated when I found myself completely lost up in the Olympian peaks of the Sierra Madre mountains. After a year-long sleep, the adventures are finally coherently (at least I think) organized in my mind.

The time is now, today, this moment when the motivational forces within me are dynamic, to unsuspend the images which have been percolating inside of me for too long.

This story, like its predecessor's, is based upon factual incidents that, believe it or not, did occur as far as I am able to rationally ascertain. Which isn't too far. Don't fret over what's true and what's not; the basic skeleton plot is classically autobiographical. However, due to the meandering imagination of the confounded correspondent, and to the fact that at the time most of these circumstances transpired I was in an altered state of mind and not capable of distinguishing between what was real and what was not - the script of this account, your personality, Diary, will probably be exaggerated, warped, peverted, and possibly even well-written.

My tale begins after I divorced myself from Luis' protective tentacles and arrived in Zihuatanejo as a naive gringo full of wonderment and awe in the year of our Lord, 1975. And the rest is personal history.

I'm tuning up my instrument by reflecting upon my dream-like experiences in Mexico, by trying to re-envision with some clarity the reality of my uproarious adventures, by trying to capture my feelings, thoughts and emotional disorder during that time of my young life. It's difficult to somersault myself back there, to project myself into the frame of mind I was in while traveling in Mexico. How can I effectively describe something like the warmth of the people, the eternal power of the Pacific Ocean, the herculean forces responsible for the creation of mountains, or what it's like to be a foreigner when my inferior means of communication is words? Diary, I feel frustrated, sitting here recapitulating . . . almost like recalling a vague dream that barely eludes the memory.

I am deeply in love with the sprawling chunk of land that is beneath the Rio Grande. I want to take my relationship with quixotic Mexico and present it with real feeling, with raw intimacy. If I can do this, and if the reader can wade through it, I know I will have transplanted a part of my love affair with that country into the hearts and minds of aspiring suitors.

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